A highly readable but erudite book in the style of Alberto Angela's A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome and Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve, this is the incredible story of Venice at a time when it was the mercantile and cultural capital of the world. There, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the first real publishing houses open for business leading to an explosion of the written word and an unprecedented diffusion of human knowledge. In Venice, and subsequently in much of the civilized world, bound printed editions of the Talmud, the Koran, the works or Erasmus of Rotterdam, and classics of Greek and Latin poetry and theater will circulate for the first time, bringing about a true revolution and the birth of the modern.
Among the innovators who are driving these new cultural enterprises, one remarkable visionary, Aldus Manutius, credited with inventing the figure of the modern publisher, stands head and shoulders above the rest. This is his story, and the story of the incredible city that allowed such an innovator to thrive.